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Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Furloughs? DTS to Blow $500M on 500 electric buses
By News Release @ 4:38 PM :: 3828 Views :: Honolulu County, Energy

First all electric TheBus

The new EV TheBus as seen on the dock of Honolulu


HNN: … The bus cost just under $1 million and is one of three buses that was funded by a Low-No Emissions Bus Program grant that was awarded by the Federal Transit Administration.  Once in use, the cost-per-mile for the bus in terms of electricity needed to charge its battery will be similar to that of the diesel-powered buses currently in use…  The new buses are capable of servicing 70% to 75% of the bus routes that operate Honolulu….

Charging the buses will prove difficult at least for the next few months; the city currently has just one working charger, and a large charging bank for up to 32 electric buses won’t be built until the spring.

PBN:  “Over 500 buses will be replaced with non-fossil fuel vehicles” – Caldwell


Honolulu welcomes the first all-electric TheBus to Oʽahu

News Release from City and County of Honolulu, Dec 14, 2020

HONOLULU - The City and County of Honolulu Department of Transportation Services (DTS) unveils its first battery electric bus and kicks off the transition of TheBus fleet to zero-emission buses.

This first bus is a 40-foot GILLIG Zero-Emission Battery Electric bus with a 38-passenger seating capacity. It is one of three buses funded by a Low-No Emissions Bus Program grant award from the Federal Transit Administration.  (MOVING THE SMOKESTACK DOES NOT EQUAL 'NO EMISSIONS.')  The City partnered with GILLIG, the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) based in Atlanta, Georgia, and Hawaiian Electric Company on this grant project.

“Our administration set a bold goal to transform our public bus fleet to 100% renewable fuel by 2035 and we are now steps closer to achieving it,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. The DTS has purchased an additional 16 new electric buses this year and expects to take delivery of the vehicles through 2021. The transition of TheBus fleet decreases greenhouse gas pollution, while reducing reliance on imported crude oil.

Electric buses bring a number of other benefits. “Electric buses provide a comfortable and smooth ride for our passengers. Residents will appreciate the quietness of this bus as it traverses Oʻahu’s neighborhoods,” said DTS Acting Director Jon Nouchi. “Also, our bus drivers will love the quick acceleration, agility, and new technology present on this newest member of our TheBus fleet.”

All new electric buses will feature a new livery designed in-house by DTS Deputy Director Dre Kalili. “We want our new buses to look and feel both modern and local,” she explained. “We kept the familiar tri-color used on most of TheBus fleet, but created a design inspired by ‘ohe kāpala (Hawaiian bamboo stamping).”

In a few weeks, this electric bus will be deployed on routes that are based at the Kalihi-Pālama Bus Facility.


GILLIG is the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses in the United States. They offer a portfolio of clean energy propulsions including zero-emission battery electric, diesel-electric hybrid, near-zero emission compressed natural gas and clean-diesel, all designed on the proven GILLIG Low Floor platform to maximize fleet commonality. Since 1890, their dedicated employees have been supporting customers and delivering on promises to improve quality of life through transformative mass transit solutions. From initial design through final assembly, each GILLIG bus is designed and built by American workers in Livermore, California, who are committed to building and supporting the safest and most reliable transit buses in the United States. GILLIG buses are known for their unmatched quality and have earned their reputation as the lowest-cost buses to maintain and operate. Our products help reduce congestion, contribute to a cleaner environment and provide mobility to all. GILLIG is also proud to create American jobs and recycle tax dollars back into the community to further support public transportation. Further information about GILLIG can be found at  

For more information on the Gillig specs, see the attached documents.

About Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE):

The Center for Transportation and the Environment is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the health of our climate and communities by bringing people together to develop and commercialize clean, efficient, and sustainable transportation technologies. CTE collaborates with federal, state, and local governments, fleets, and vehicle technology manufacturers to complete our mission. Learn more at

About Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO):

Since 1891, Hawaiian Electric has provided the energy that has fueled Hawai‘i’s development from a Hawaiian kingdom to a modern American state. Hawaiian Electric is committed to empowering its customers and communities with affordable, reliable, clean energy and achieving a 100 percent clean energy for electricity and transportation in Hawaiʻi by 2045. Hawaiʻi continues to be a leader in eMobility, with over 12,000 EVs and more than 600 publicly accessible charge ports.


SA: Honolulu unveils first of 17 new electric buses “…kicking off what officials hope is a complete transformation of TheBus fleet to zero-emission vehicles by 2035.”


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